Boris’s burrow? Boring in more ways than one.

I do not promise an absence of any further puns in this piece. So last Sunday the big news was: we can’t put a bridge over the top of the Beaufort’s Dyke, so sure we’ll just build a tunnel round it.  It’ll only be 25 miles long. Except… The Channel Tunnel is 37.92km (23.57 miles) from the English coast under Shakespeare cliff to the French coast at Sangatte.  It takes a further 9.14km (5.68 miles) to reach the tunnel mouth …

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Great Victoria Street railway station opens … back in 1995 [ENV/13/4/6A] #20yearrule

A pink file full of government papers released today marked the opening of the last new Great Victoria Street station on 30 September 1995, itself resurrecting a transport terminus which had been shut in 1976 with the opening of the optimistically-named Central Station. Just a handful of residents were invited to the official opening, a mistake that hopefully won’t be repeated when the new transport hub opens around 2023.

Interview with Translink CEO Chris Conway

Thursday afternoon in the Europa Buscentre, and knowing I’ve been scooped by the Business Telegraph (the price of blogging), I meet with Chris Conway in the conference room.  We’ve met before, as I happened to be at Stormont for an Autism event on the day Translink launched Train and Bus week, but this chat has been pre-arranged to talk about the new ticketing systems. Phone is recording the audio (no boos today), and we dive fairly quickly into the new …

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McNulty’s campaign to bring Newry (belatedly) into a 21C railway service…

So, £9 Million, no questions asked. Unsurprising the Perm Sec at Economy was a little concerned at the lack of accountability of the deal. We should not, of course, exaggerate what £9 million over three years can buy in terms of government spend. Lack of good, shovel ready and affordable ideas is one problem faced by politicians in power. Getting it past their Perm Secs is another. In this case the downsizing of government to just two parties has at …

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Coleraine-Waterside Phase 2 contract awarded

With the controversy well recounted over the escalation of costs for the upgrade of this section of railway line, I think I should start this post with a little explanation well known to those of us who have ever been involved in procurement, whether public sector or private sector. Basically, and regardless of the skills of your Quantity Surveyor who has their ear to the ground and knows very well what the going rate is for the materials needed for …

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Details emerging on Translink fare rises

Hat tip to Martin Baumann, who sent me this photograph of a poster today. I’m still waiting to hear, as are all of us, what the impact in cash terms will be on Ulsterbus and Metro, beyond a statement in December that Metro cash fares (and by extension the three lowest Ulsterbus fares) would go up by 10p each – it isn’t clear, for example, whether Metro smartlink fares will also rise by 10p. Where I want to start the …

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Cyclist beats “embarrassing” train in race from Derry to Belfast

An SDLP press release issued today reveals the results of a “bicycle versus train” challenge on Sunday, travelling between Derry and Belfast. John Madden and Peter Jack set off from Derry’s General Post Office at 9.15am. John threw his leg over his bicycle and broke the Derry to Belfast record (held by Morris ‘Big Mo’ Foster) as he pedalled down to Belfast Albert Memorial Clock (avoiding motorways) in 2 hours 27 minutes. Meanwhile Peter caught the 09:42 train from Londonderry …

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Increasing numbers of passengers let the train take the strain … apart from a 10 year decline on the Enterprise

Monday morning’s Belfast Telegraph splashed with the front page story that passengers numbers have fallen by 22% on the Belfast-Dublin Enterprise train over the last decade. The ‘exclusive’ – based on figures in DRD’s Future Railways Investment consultation document [pdf] that was published in January – was picked up by Talkback at lunchtime as well as other news programmes. The actual consultation ended in April, though this isn’t mentioned in the paper! And in some ways, it’s never too late …

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